The generosity of people in Basingstoke and Deane has helped achieve a remarkable fundraising target in support of rough sleepers.
For the second consecutive year, the Social Inclusion Partnership (SIP) has run the Real Change, Not Loose Change campaign to extend services that help vulnerable people.
The aim of this year’s campaign was to raise £16,180, to be distributed between three different local projects.
Now, £5,000 will go to the Night Light Winter Shelter, £4,160 to the Camrose Centre to allow it to open an extra day and £5,432 to Julian House, to provide facilities for rough sleepers to store their belongings safely.
Councillor Terri Reid was delighted with the result. She said: “Once again this year the campaign has demonstrated the compassion and generosity of the people of Basingstoke and Deane.
“We are thrilled to have surpassed the target with time to spare, and it’s a real tribute to all the individuals, schools, groups, communities and companies who have shown concern and commitment by joining in with the campaign.
“So many people have contributed not just money but time and energy to organising fundraising activities and everyone on the SIP is so grateful to them.”
She added: “The aim of Real Change has always been not just to raise money for this great cause but also to raise awareness and encourage community engagement.
“Homelessness can happen to just about everyone and everyone who is rough sleeping is still part of our community and deserves our support and compassion.
“The people of Basingstoke have again shown how much they care and how much they want to make a difference.”
People of all ages and backgrounds joined the fundraising efforts this year.
At the beginning of last month the campaign had only achieved just over a quarter of its target but collections in the area and a real push to hit the target by the mid-January deadline has meant the campaign has achieved its goal and surpassed expectations.
In the last few months, schoolchildren from Fairfields Primary School raised £120 by selling hot drinks, youngsters at Oakley Infant School raised £525 from their nativity play while former rough sleeper and now council engineer Shirley Keer organised a carol concert.
Local homebuilder Vivid Homes also donated £1,000 to the cause.
As well as cash donations, people have also been collecting bedding, clothing and food.